Black rhinos are one of nature’s most amazing sights, but can you imagine seeing one flying through the air?
Well that’s exactly what happened recently, when WWF flew some South African rhinos by helicopter to a new home.
Between 1970 and 1992, black rhino numbers dropped by more than 96%. This is mostly because of poaching (illegal hunting). We need to look after them to prevent them from possibly becoming extinct.
Rhinos need quite a lot of space. When there are too many of them in one area, they sometimes stop having as many babies, and if you think about it, a rhino that’s not been born is as much of a loss as one that’s been poached when you’re trying to build up a population.
So last year, WWF moved 19 rhinos from an area where there were too many of them, and gave them a new home in the Limpopo province where they could live happily with more room.
Usually, rhinos are moved by truck, but because of the large distances they are moved, and the remoteness of the areas they live in, journey times can be long. Because of this, we needed to find a way of moving them more quickly.
WWF has been using an amazing way of moving the rhinos instead. The rhinos are tranquilised with a dart, and then flown upside-down, by the ankles or in a net, by helicopter. It’s an amazing sight!
Journey time by helicopter is much shorter (usually about 10 minutes) so the rhinos are tranquillised for less time, and believe it or not, it is much comfier for them.
A specialist vet is there at all times and the animals are watched very carefully throughout their amazing journeys.
Watch this amazing short film about a group of 19 critically endangered black rhinos, that were moved from South Africa’s Eastern Cape to a new range in the Limpopo province, some by air.